VEA: Drop in History, Civics NAEP Scores Reflects Efforts to Squelch Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Initiatives
May 3, 2023
May 3, 2023
National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) scores for the U.S. history and civics tests administered to eighth-graders in 2022 were released today, and not surprisingly, show a decline from previous results. The average civics score was two points lower than in 2018 and the average U.S. history score was five points lower. While first inclination may be to point to the pandemic and its associated impact on reading skills, it is worth noting that the decline in U.S. history scores pre-dates the pandemic, with a four-point decrease seen in the 2018 administration. It is very likely that, equally at play, are ongoing Republican-led efforts over the last several years to restrict honest education.
“Efforts across the country to ban diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives, along with discussions of race and racism, have had a chilling effect on teachers and their ability to instruct on these essential topics that are so entwined in our nation’s history,” said Dr. James J. Fedderman, president of the Virginia Education Association. Indeed, in a large-scale RAND Corporation survey of educators over the past year, one in four said they had been told by schools or division leaders to limit classroom discussion on history and societal issues.
We await state level results that are tentatively slated for release this fall. “We certainly hope that Virginia’s students have not lost ground in the areas of U.S. history and civics,” said Fedderman, “but we would not be surprised, given Governor Youngkin’s focus on inflaming culture wars and restricting diversity at every turn, and the chilling effect his policies have had in our classrooms.”